A minority Islamic sect has brought in airport-style security at its mosques in the UK as the Metropolitan Police investigates death threats sent to the community by Muslims.
The Ahmadiyya Community UK (AMC) has put in place security measures including metal detectors, identity checks, and bag searches at its 50 mosques and prayer halls in Britain, after threats were made against the group, and its leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
According to The Sunday Times, Scotland Yard is investigating threats to the lives of members of the community, which are understood to come from Muslim extremists in Britain.
Ahmadi Muslims face violent oppression in large parts of the Islamic world and are classed as “apostates” by the UK’s largest umbrella group for followers of Islam, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
Left Attacks Muslims from Persecuted Ahmadiyya ‘Apostate’ Sect for Selling Poppies
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 7, 2017
Farooq Aftab, a spokesman for the AMC, said while the persecution of Ahmadis is commonplace in Pakistan, it is unacceptable for such behaviour to be tolerated in Britain.
“People who don’t think we are Muslims are entitled to their own point of view, but a line must be drawn because violence cannot be justified. We can disagree, but we have a right to freedom of religion,” he told The Sunday Times.
“Our community is under attack by extremists but our commitment to peace and love is unshakeable. We appreciate the work of the authorities and . . . they must continue to work diligently for the protection and safety of all citizens.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 7, 2016
While most threats to the sect in Britain are reportedly sent via social media, AMC community centres and mosques have also been vandalised with Islamist slogans, while last year police investigated a London mosque after leaflets promoting violence against Ahmadis were found on the premises.
Fears in the Ahmadi community grew last February when a shopkeeper in Glasgow was hacked to death for wishing neighbours a “Happy Easter”.
The incident prompted police to begin confiscating leaflets encouraging hatred against the minority sect, including “hate posters” targeting Ahmadis, which were displayed in Muslim shops, but a spokeswoman for Police Scotland at the time insisted the literature did not constitute a “hate crime” nor breach any laws.